(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) – It was a patient and methodical strategy that clinched the junior national title for Andrew Stopera’s team this afternoon as the 2017 USA Curling Junior National Championships came to a close at the Fargo-Moorhead Curling Club in Fargo, N.D.
Stopera (Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.) and teammates Luc Violette (Issaquah, Wash.), Ben Richardson (Issaquah, Wash.), Graem Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.) scored a single point in the 10th end to defeat Nick Connolly’s team and earn the right to represent the U.S. at the upcoming World Junior Championships in South Korea. The team is coached by Mark Lazar (Toledo, Ohio). The 2017 World Juniors will take place Feb. 16-26 at the Gangneung Curling Centre in South Korea. The men’s team joins the Annmarie Dubberstein rink, winners of the women’s gold-medal game earlier today.
Connolly (Seattle) and teammates Branden Scheel (Fargo, N.D.), Aaron Carlson (East Lansing, Mich.), and Andrew Dudt (Malvern, Pa.) came into the playoffs as the top seed and started today’s game with the last-rock advantage. It would be Stopera’s team, however, that scored first as they stole a single point in the second end to get the offense going. The teams exchanged singles and Connolly’s team finally broke through in the fifth-end to score the game’s first deuce. Stopera countered in the seventh end with two to take a one-point lead. After holding Connolly’s rink to a single point in the eighth end, Stopera was able to hold on to the hammer advantage until the final end to score a point and earn the 2017 junior national title.
This will be the first appearance at the World Junior Championships for three of the four athletes, who are all members of the USA Curling Junior High Performance Program. Stopera, 19, a student at Northwestern University, finished third at last year’s Junior Nationals. Violette, 17, won the junior title back in 2014 at age 14 and went on to finish ninth at the World Juniors. Richardson, 18, teamed up with Violette to win a silver medal at the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games. Fenson, 17, is the youngest son of 2006 Olympic bronze medalist Pete Fenson. Connolly will join the team as the fifth player for the World Juniors while Madison Bear (Pardeeville, Wis.) has been named the fifth for Dubberstein’s team.
Final results and standings are posted at www.usacurl.org.
Line score, men’s final:
*Nick Connolly 001 020 010 0 – 4
Andrew Stopera 010 100 200 1 – 5
*last rock in first end
Gold medalists: Annmarie Dubberstein (Portage, Wis.), Christine McMakin (St. Paul, Minn.), Jenna Burchesky (Walpole, Mass.), Allison Howell (Solon, Ohio), Coach Bev Schroeder (Stevens Point, Wis.)
Silver medalists: Madison Bear (Pardeeville, Wis.), Cora Farrell (Fairbanks, Alaska), Cait Flannery (Mankato, Minn.), Lexi Lanigan (Duluth, Minn.), Rebecca Miles (Duluth, Minn.), Coach Bill Rhyme (Green Bay, Wis.)
Bronze medalists: Melissa Runing (North Mankato, Minn.), Emily Lindgren (Grand Forks, N.D.), Taylor Drees (Grand Forks, N.D.), Alyson Deegan (St. Peter, Minn.), Coach Shawn Runing (North Mankato, Minn.)
Gold medalists: Andrew Stopera (Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.), Luc Violette (Issaquah, Wash.), Ben Richardson (Issaquah, Wash.), Graem Fenson (Bemidji, Minn.), Coach Mark Lazar (Toledo, Ohio)
Silver medalists: Nicholas Connolly (Seattle), Branden Scheel (Fargo, N.D.), Aaron Carlson (East Lansing, Mich.), Andrew Dudt (Malvern, Pa.), Coach Brian Dudt (Malvern, Pa.)
Bronze medalists: Timothy Hodek (Fairdale, N.D.), Skyler Slusar (Hallock, Minn.), John Lindgren (Grand Forks, N.D.), Ethan Sampson (Edmore, N.D.), Nathan Parry (Littleton, Colo.), Coach Owen Sampson (Edmore, N.D.)
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2017-01-20 16:45:51 -0800
Connolly rink moves on to men's final at 2017 Junior Nationals
(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) – Nick Connolly and his Seattle-based teammates have punched their tickets to the championship final of the 2017 USA Curling Junior National Championships after a 7-6 win today over North Dakota’s Tim Hodek rink at the Fargo-Moorhead Curling Club in Fargo, N.D.
Connolly (Seattle) and his team of Branden Scheel (Fargo, N.D.), Aaron Carlson (East Lansing, Mich.), and Andrew Dudt (Malvern, Pa.) needed to score three points in the final end to clinch the spot in the gold-medal game.
Timothy Hodek (Fairdale, N.D.) Skyler Slusar (Hallock, Minn.), John Lindgren (Grand Forks, N.D.), Ethan Sampson (Edmore, N.D.), and Nathan Parry (Littleton, Colo.) scored two points in the eighth end to knot the game at 4-4. The North Dakota rink followed up with a steal of two in the ninth to put the pressure on Connolly and company, who would generate the game’s biggest scoring end. This is the first time the Connolly rink will make an appearance in the Junior Nationals gold-medal game.
Hodek’s team now moves on to tonight’s semifinal against No. 3 Andrew Stopera in a second chance to make Saturday’s final. Also on tap tonight is the ladies semifinal between Madison Bear and Melissa Runing (North Mankato, Minn.)
The Annmarie Dubberstein rink (7-0) was the outright winner of the women’s round robin and have advanced directly to Saturday’s women’s gold-medal game. Because there is a two-loss provision in place at this year’s Junior Nationals for an undefeated team entering the playoffs, there could potentially be two championship finals for the women’s teams between Dubberstein and the winner of tonight’s semifinal. The first final will take place at 9 a.m. Saturday. Should the Dubberstein rink lose that game, a second final would take place at noon to determine the 2017 junior women’s national champions.
A live webstream of the competition, as well as live scores and standings, is posted at www.usacurl.org.
The winning teams will represent the U.S. at the 2017 World Junior Championships Feb. 16-26 at the Gangneung Curling Centre in South Korea, which will be the venue for curling at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.